Tag Archives: soup

Day 110 (part 2)

The soup plan took place and I decided that today was a day for lentil soup. First call was the cupboard where  keep the pulses, but on the way I took a quick look in the fridge. There was a packet of vegetables I wanted to use for hash for tea. It’s not a sophisticated dish but it is easy and it keeps. Soup tonight and hash tomorrow, or vice versa – an easy meal plan, as the veg for hash can also become vegetable stew if necessary.

When I looked at the ready-cubed vegetables I realised that they were too small for the hash, so they became soup. Carrot and swede (rutabaga) soup with leeks, garlic and a stock cube. It’s quite orange, and slightly sour, and it’s still in the pan as we decided on hash. Tomorrow is soup with salad and quesadillas, though the seasoning needs work. It’s likely to end up with a large helping of curry powder. Lentil soup will be next week.

That, in turn, meant that I had to cut quite a lot of vegetables, which isn’t fun with stiff fingers and sore knuckles. I wimped out of cubing swede, as it’s a hard vegetable to do and the knife I use is capable of removing a finger if you get it wrong. With my fingers as they were this afternoon, there was a good chance of getting it wrong, so common sense prevailed. We made do with carrot, parsnip, potato, sweet potato, leek and cabbage. The corned beef was a bit of a problem as the key was missing. I cut most of the base out of the can with a can opener, but had to finish off with a knife. (See previous comments about fingers . . .)

I will rest my fingers for the next few days and see how things develop. They do tend to get stiff every so often so I’m hoping that rest, and possibly a hot water bottle will do the trick. I did the shopping online. This Friday I will pick things up from TESCO as you can order fewer items if you pick it up in the car park. Next Friday we have a full shop from ASDA – again ordered with a single click. It will nee a bit of work to alter it, but not much compared to ordering from scratch. I will be ordering more pre-cut veg, to save my fingers.

When Julia came home, I decided to ask if she would like a drink using Makaton. She did and she indicate she would like tea (a drinking gesture featuring a raised little finger – like a posh lady drinking tea).  Coffee is indicated by a drinking gesture and fingers held to give a C shape. e went through some of the other signs later in the evening, where I discovered that stiff fingers make sign language tricky.

I really hope that rest and warmth does the trick. I would say “fingers crossed” but it seems wrong in the circumstances.

Stephen Hawking 50p

Carrot & Ginger Soup

Day 110

I’ve been reviewing my soup making. The celery was disappointing, but apart from that the others haven’t been too bad. However, at this point I have to admit that “the others” generally means root vegetable soups, and they are difficult to mess up. I’ve also done mushroom, pea, broccoli and cauliflower, which have all been passable. The roasted squash soup I did last week was very good, but by the time I’d finished roasting the frozen squash chunks they had shrunk to almost nothing, and I ended up with just two portions. I know that roasting the veg adds to the flavour, but I feel guilty about using the oven just to roast in a bit of extra flavour.

I really need to extend my repertoire, but that would mean buying ingredients specially and that isn’t how I view soup. Soup is mainly what happens to stuff you have had too long. Yes, the pea soup and the roasted squash soup featured specially bought ingredients, but all the rest were just things I had too much of.

It’s my day off today and Julia has gone on a course to brush up on her Makaton so I am faced with a long boring day. I could look up some interesting soup recipes . . .

Or I could look at some Makaton videos and surprise her tonight by asking her if she wants a cup of tea by signing. Perhaps not. After a day of training she can probably do with a cup of tea without additional difficulty.

Soup recipes then . . .

Carrot & Ginger Soup

Day 88

I’ve just written a post and discarded it. Not everything that goes on inside my head makes for good reading, particularly when it’s a discussion of the merits, or otherwise, of eating tofu. You know what I think of salad? Well I dislike tofu more. I know that’s difficult to believe, but it’s true. At least salad has flavour. Tofu, unfortunately, does not.

It’s late now, but under the titling system currently in use, I feel I must post every day and leave no gaps. If it wasn’t for that I’d just go to bed.

There’s something about a row of numbers, on the other hand,  that helps keep you up to the mark.

I’m going to try Carrot & Ginger Soup tomorrow and see how it turns out. Last time I tried it I couldn’t really taste the ginger, so I added it to the list of lacklustre soups and filed it in my mental list of soups to try again. I need to get back on the diet, so it’s time for more soup.

So far this year has seen a few good soups and a few to try again. After carrot & Ginger I will try Celery again, as I feel it’s one that should be good for a low carb diet. Owing to the effect of ordering groceries on the internet, I now have  a stockpile of celery.

I’m hoping it promotes clear thought, as i still have a raft of submissions to make, and a lack of suitable material. Tomorrow is make or break day – three submissions to do and  alack of days to do them in. I may have to shelve some of them and start work on the April submissions. April? Already?

 

 

Day 61

Day 61 came. Day 61 went. I slept through the end of it and am writing this a little late. That’s the trouble with Julia being on holiday, there is no bustle and packing of bags in preparation for tomorrow. It was one of then better things about lockdown and something to look forward to when we retire. That and getting up when I feel like it instead of when the clock demands it.

Counting the days is becoming more difficult now that I have three months to consider. I will, no doubt, get used to it.

In poetry terms, Obsessed with Pipework is out, and I am in it. I can’t point you to a link because it is not online and I can’t quote myself because I should give them some time before I do that. Not sure how long as, unlike some magazines, they don’t specify. I will do it in a couple of months if I remember. I like OWP because it doesn’t take itself too seriously. Nor does it let the process of not taking itself seriously become too serious, which is a fault of some magazines that try not to take themselves too seriously, if that makes sense.

Quality poems, captivating covers, laid back attitude and the editorial good taste to accept my work. That is an excellent magazine.

Today’s vegetable soup, which saw the end of several manky carrots, a fossilised parsnip and half a bag of ready cubed swede  from the supermarket, turned out to be quite good. It also had onions and chilli. It was golden beige in colour and quite tasty with little red spots from the chillies. I foolishly put my taste-buds out of commission during the cooking because the chilli didn’t seem to be flavouring the soup. I added more, then more again. Still no result. So I tasted a slice (I was using fresh ones from the shop). Turns out that the slice I tasted was a great deal hotter than the previous slices I had added to the soup.

Day 50

What a nice round number. You can almost imagine Number 50 wearing a waistcoat and a watch chain, can’t you? Or maybe that’s just me.

I had a go at celery soup today, as I have been threatening for weeks. I got the celery out and searched for a potato . . .

There are none. My attempt to reduce carbs and wrinkly veg has left us with no spuds. That’s why the soup is very orange. In the end I didn’t use celery, because in my search for potatoes I found several bags of carrots. I decided that carrot and ginger soup sounded nice, and the celery plan was, once more, put on hold.

In went half a leek (I had one hanging about and couldn’t be bothered to peel an onion). Then the end of a bag of carrots, garlic paste, stock cube, some swede to take some of the sweetness out of the carrots, and some ginger. Not enough ginger, as it turns out, as you can’t actually taste it. Maybe I should have gone with the thyme. The only thing that stopped me was fear of overkill but now, on looking it up, I find there are recipes for carrot, ginger and thyme soup. Presumably these were written by people like me who throw stuff at a pot and seek to justify it later. I really ought to take a more serious attitude to soup and start with a recipe instead of a pile of random ingredients.

However, as random as my soup is, it still has a long way to go before it becomes as bizarre as some of these soups.

The soup in the header picture is a swede, carrot and parsnip soup. Not the restrained colour. Now look at the one below, which is today’s soup.

Carrot & Ginger Soup

Carrot & Ginger Soup

Day 41

It’s the early hours of the morning and, as usual, I am still up finding odd jobs to do. Yesterday was quite action packed so I’m going to write about it now and may even squeeze another post in today – or lengthen this one in the evening. There are so many options!

I’ve had a couple of emails in the last few days, but nowhere to fit the news in. I made four submissions at the end of January, two of them have now come back with acceptances. Two acceptances is good. It means I am back in the groove and it also means means I have 18 poems back, and can use them again. I will edit and polish and see what happens.

This is why it’s easier to make submissions when you are doing it constantly – there is a constant turnover as submittable material comes back. Some months last year my submissions were entirely poems which had already been out. This is so much easier than having to start from scratch. Admittedly, not all returned poems are fit to send out again, but most of them are, and many of them are used on their second or third attempt. I’ve read interviews by well known poets who have done well with work that has been submitted over 20 times.

Sometimes the talent you need isn’t writing ability but persistence.

Same goes for vegetable stew making. Last week it was appalling, mainly due to the use of putrid parsnips, this week it was excellent, and I had the added pleasure of using the cauliflower leaves from last night as greens to add more goodness to the stew and prevent waste. Why compost it when you can eat it?

I also had a blood test – as I said, it’s all happening! Nobody has rung so I assume I passed. Nobody has rung to complain that I am a week late either, I think we have finally reached an understanding. Next time I also have a liver function blood test to make sure the arthritis drugs aren’t doing me any damage. I hope they aren’t, as I’m reasonably happy with them at the moment.

The picture is snowdrops from 2019. They are out now but I have no new photos. That has been a feature of the days of covid – very few new photos.

Day 6

Day 6 already!

The recent January heatwave passed, and we had ice to scrape before we could use the car – not quite the first of winter, but the first seriously frosted up car. So far we have had a remarkably mild winter. That said, it’s still a bit chilly in the house, particularly with my self-imposed ban on putting on the dining room fire while I’m on the computer.

I don’t like nuclear power with its associated risks, but I think I might prefer it to being at the mercy of other countries for our gas supplies. Until a few years ago I didn’t realise how dependent we are on fuel imports. First thing to do is to cut down on population, something we can start on by burning the u8nemployed top produce warmth for the rest of us.

I suppose I ought to point out that’s a joke, before I get into trouble, but I’m not so sure whether I am joking.

Cannibalism is another possibility but that will probably come anyway. In nature, if you crowd animals they start to behave badly and I can’t see humans being much better. Governments always drag their feet and in a couple of hundred years, as we sit on our steadily decreasing island with erosion, global warming, rising sea levels and most of our farm land under either concrete or solar panels, I can see bad times ahead. Even chickens, the stupidest and least impressive of warriors (hence the name “chicken”) turn into blood-soaked killing machines when the natural balance is disturbed.

Perhaps this would make a good plot for a dystopian novel. Then again, bearing in mind the number of people keeping chickens in their gardens, perhaps not . . .

Anyway, I’ll leave it there. On a more cheerful note, we only have six parcels to wrap today and we had vegetable stew and dumplings for tea. Spiced Sweet Potato soup for lunch tomorrow and hopefully more parcels to pack. It was going to be celery soup, but we have too many sweet potatoes so some of them had to go.

That’s all for now. See you tomorrow for a lighter look at the future of the human race.

 

Planning

I’ve just been reading LA in Waking up on the Wrong Side of 50. She is very organised and has all sorts of plans in prospect for next year. This is in contrast to me – I’m vaguely aiming for 100 submissions next year, reading 50 books and that’s it. The planning centres of my brain are not very developed. She has blogging subjects planned until April. I am, as you may have noticed, writing a blog post, but I’m not sure what I’m going to write about once I finish this paragraph.

End of paragraph. Pause. I could write about procrastination, or the amount of staring blankly that I end up doing when I’m supposed to be “writing”. I just drifted off to leave some feedback on eBay and look someone up on the internet. I’m like a small downy feather floating on the breeze – never quite settling.

We are steadily moving through the backlog of food I over-ordered fro Christmas, a situation not helped by  me ordering more for New Year. We have carved all the meat off the turkey crown and frozen it. Tomorrow we will be having turkey and bacon pie and apart from a couple of lots of sandwiches, that is the turkey done.

The planned Celery and Stilton soup[ has become Cauliflower and Stilton Soup as the cauli looked like it needed using, while the celery is still crisp.

Next, I will catalogue a few medallions for an article I’m planning and then will trawl my mind for five haiku I need for a deadline (tomorrow). It’s hard going at the moment, but I will get through. Then it’s just the quality that poses a problem.

I have shelved another submission I was planning for tomorrow and then start work on two submissions for 15th January. A target of 100 isn’t going to hit itself.

Souper Sunday

Today, we had mushroom soup. It is only the second time I have made mushroom soup, and it is the first time it has actually tasted of mushrooms. The previous attempt tasted like I imagine musty Victorian wallpaper paste would taste. It does take a lot of mushrooms, but the Christmas ordering frenzy is upon me, and we did have a lot of mushrooms. My version uses onions, garlic, a stock cube, mushrooms, fresh thyme, water and vegetable oil. The version on the internet used cream and butter too, and didn’t have thyme in it.. Internet soup recipes often use cream and butter, but I decided that we could do without it, and I seem to have been right. My view is that soup is supposed to be frugal and healthy and filling it with dairy products is not the way to go.

I’m not sure if I will try it again. I like mushroom soup but carrots are a lot cheaper and don’t shrink so alarmingly when you cook them. We ended up with two large bowls of soup. If I’d filled the pan with that amount of root veg it would have made six or eight bowls.

In the evening we had spicy lentil burgers which we found in the back of the freezer. They had been lying there, undisturbed, since the first lockdown. We moved things round to fit a turkey crown in, and found several packets that we had forgotten. I always say that we should get more organised in the freezer, but I never do anything about it. That sounds like a New Year Resolution just waiting to be made. And the good thing about it is that I will be able to make it next year too, because it never gets done.

To go with the burgers I cubed a lot of root veg (carrots, swede and parsnip) and added sweet potato before boiling until softened. They went into a wok with onions, leeks and sliced greens to become a vegetable hash. I used the water from the boiling in another pan of veg, which became vegetable soup. I’m pinning my hopes on soup as a way of getting through Christmas without significant weight gain.

I couldn’t find my soup pictures so I used a waterlily.

A Review of My Targets and Another Pan of Soup

My first job of the day was to take nourishment in the form of two slices of toast (brown seeded bread) with chunky cut marmalade. I know how to live.

I then reported for a blood test and, duly punctured, picked up a prescription from the pharmacy, had a cup of tea with friends (whilst delivering Christmas cards) and returned home for a light lunch made up of leftovers. Tea was home made soup (broccoli and cauliflower, including stalks and leaves) with a sandwich and I am now hungry as I sut and write this.

It is the price I must pay for my health. In the last three weeks I have not gained any weight, but I have not lost any either, and I need to get back into good habits. Lunch tomorrow will be more of the broccoli and cauliflower soup. Fortunately it is quite tasty, though Julia describes it, unattractively, as beige. It isn’t it’s a delicate green shade which, in certain lights, looks a little beige. But it’s definitely pale green. I would call it Eau de Nil, but I’m not sure that I want to associate my soup with the water of the River Nile.

A lot of my afternoon was spent in reviewing how my writing plans went over the last year. The plan took a bit of a knock due to me being ill and missing the best part of three months as I slowly recovered. I had  a target of 63 submissions, and managed 49. Not great, but not too bad.

Of those, I had 13 Haibun and one Tanka Prose (which I’m going to count as the same thing for the sake of these figures) accepted, which is 14 against a target of 18.

Haiku target was 12, and I have had 12 acceptances (a total of 15 poems) so that is OK.

I’m also writing Tanka, which I hadn’t planned for and have had four accepted.

One thing went badly – I had planned on doing three articles but after the first one turned into a bit of a disaster (originally accepted with edits, then turned down when the editor changed his mind< I didn’t pursue that. However, it will still be in the plan for next year.

I have also submitted ordinary poetry five times during the year and had three lots accepted.

I had been feeling a little deflated about my writing, and the way the year ended, but I’m actually quite pleased by the way it’s gone when I review the figures.

However, talking of figures, I’ve just been reading a website where a poet talks of their work. They have been writing poetry for 15 months and has had over 300 published. I really need to up my game. Or I could just stop reading author websites.